Mary With Her Young Son
DESCRIPTION: "Then Mary took her young son, And set him on her knee, Saying, 'My dear son, tell me, Tell me how this world shall be.'" Jesus responds by foretelling his death and resurrection
EARLIEST DATE: 1931 (Terry)
KEYWORDS: Jesus religious
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Bronson 54, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (Item #31 to this song, in the appendix, is this piece under the title "Mary's Question")
Dearmer/VaughnWilliams/Shaw-OxfordBookOfCarols 66, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text (separated into smaller parts, the last being "Mary With Her Young Son"), 4 tunes)
cf. "The Cherry Tree Carol" [Child 54]
cf. "Als I Lay Upon a Nith (As I Lay Upon a Night II)" (theme of the young Jesus foretelling his future)
NOTES [191 words]: The earliest extant version of these stanzas is in Sandys's version of "The Cherry Tree Carol," allowing the possibility that they are an original part of that ballad. But it is certainly not necessary to that ballad -- which is, of course, very episodic.
Of the thirty versions of "The Cherry Tree Carol" in Bronson (not all of which have complete texts), only two have this item in its full form, but many more have a brief section in which Joseph asks the unborn baby about the future. This could well have attracted a separate song on the same theme.
Thus it is equally possible that "Mary With Her Young Son" is a broken-off fragment *or* that it is a separate song grafted in. A. L. Lloyd, in his notes to the recording by The Valley Folk, is noncommittal, and Bronson's treatment is equally noncommittal.
There is, of course, no scriptural basis for any of this; although the adult Jesus repeatedly spoke of his future fate, only the Gospel of Luke mentions any foretellings before his ministry, and even that passage (Luke 2:49, "Didn't you realize that I must be in my Father's house?") is dated to the twelfth year of Jesus's life. - RBW
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